Member News

Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino Receive Survey Award of Excellence from Docomomo US

by Josh Niland | Sep 27, 2021

Docomomo US has announced the winners of its annual Modernism in America Awards recognizing important restoration projects throughout the country that represent best practices for architects and engineers, and grassroots activists working in the field of advocacy and preservation. 

The winning projects have been selected for their ability to champion the architecture of Paul Rudolph, Mies van der Rohe, Phillip Johnson, and others whose designs drastically altered the built environment and visual landscape in America post World War II. 

Seven projects were given Awards of Excellence while another seven received Citations of Merit. A Special Citation for Grassroots Initiatives was awarded as well. 

This year’s awards will be presented on November 11, 2021, at the Design Within Reach Third Avenue Showroom in New York City. A full list of winners can be viewed below.

Survey Award of Excellence: Modern in the Middle: 
Chicago Houses 1929–75
Description: "An Inventory/Survey Award of Excellence is given for Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929–75. Published by The Monacelli Press in 2020 and co-authored by Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino, this scholarly yet accessible book explores the substantial but often overlooked role that Chicago and its suburbs played in the development of the modern single-family house in the twentieth century. In a city often associated with the skyscrapers that define its skyline and the outsize reputations of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, the examples surveyed in Modern in the Middle expand and enrich the story of the region’s built environment. The authors made a deliberate point to include spouses or partners as clients and to present homes designed by underrepresented groups, such as Black architect John W. Moutoussamy’s family home (1954), the Ruth Koier and Laurence Sjoblom House (1960) designed by Jean Wehrheim, one of the few women architects practicing at the time, and the Ming Djang and Chung Kuo Liao House (1966), designed by Chinese-American architect Y.C. Wong. Equal parts architectural, cultural, and social history, Modern in the Middle provides accessible research in an enjoyable format that will help homeowners, preservationists, and the general public to better understand and protect Chicagoland’s modern residential legacy. Jury chair Marcel Quimby lauded the 'breadth and depth of entries, making for a delightful and informative read.' Jury member Gina Ford emphasized the inclusion of 'unsung stories and testimonials which provide concrete support for the broader story.'"

Read about all of the award winners here

Susan Benjamin has been an SAH member since 1968.  She has frequently served on the SAH Awards Gala Host Committee.  Michelangelo Sabatino joined SAH in 1999. He has served on a variety of committees, as a Session Chair for the 2014 Annual International Conference, and on the SAH Board from 2013 to 2016.  



SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610